By Tyson Thorne

February 18, 2014

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Late one night I got a call from one of my pastor friends who was just coming back into town after being at a conference. He called to tell me that a few hours earlier he had been in a strip bar, and felt the need to tell someone. A year ago, a long-time married friend of mine who was preparing to go into the ministry had an affair with a married woman. Yet another Christian friend of mine came to me not long ago confessing that, while he hadn't sacrificed his virginity, that he was dating a married woman. Let me tell you, a lack of sexual integrity adversely affects everyone around you, and especially those you care about the most.

How does sexual immorality affect the lives of those close to the one being immoral?

• It causes grief to others
• It is a bad testimony
• It will affect how you relate to others

What if you've already blown it? I asked my pastor friend what he was going to do now. He responded that he first had to deal with God. “I’ve got to get a right perspective on the things I've let slip,” he said, “and renew my commitment there. I need to revive my sense of commitment to the things that keep me from making mistakes like this.” After dealing with God, he then he planned to go home and talk to his wife.

“This is my only real struggle,” he told me. “This brings out the reality of my sinfulness and my need to pray, to be in the Word, my need for God and strong fellowship... It will be even more devastating to me tomorrow morning [when I speak to my congregation].”

He thanked me for being available. He said he knows the importance of confession in overcoming sinful strongholds.

Let me ask you this: did my friend go into that men's club out of love for his wife? Did he go out of love for God? Did he enter that establishment out of Love for the people of his church?

What is the greatest commandment? “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and the second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself.”

What is love? “To love God is to obey his commandments” (1 John 5.3).

What is sex? A physical expression of living beings that results in pleasure, oneness and (often) children.

What is sexual integrity? Living up to God’s standards of sexual conduct; one such principle is to hold off on sex until marriage.

I thought about beginning this blog by listing the various ways we are sexually enticed. I thought about films, videos, clubs, bars, television - commercials and programs - work acquaintances and non-Christian friends, and the list could stretch on and on and on. But what would be the point? I believe everyone is aware of how they are either being sexually tempted, titillated, or desensitized. The question isn't one of ignorance: "how am I tempted?" but rather one of direction: "How do I overcome a stronghold?"

1. Be broken over the sin. If you don’t take sin seriously, how can God seriously forgive?
2. Recognize – as my pastor-friend did – your need for God, the Word and fellowship with other believers. Do something about those needs.
3. Remove from yourself, or remove yourself from, those things which cause you to sin.
4. Through all these steps, pray. Pray alone, pray with others, and pray for strength to be all that God desires you to be: pure and blameless (Ephesians. 1.4 "To be holy and blameless before Him in love).

If you have a stronghold in your life, don't take it lightly. Confess it to a close Christian friend who will pray for you and hold you accountable.

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